Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Benzodiazepines. Repulsive drugs that are still harming patients

Benzodiazepines are repulsive pharmaceutical drugs that have caused millions of patients great harm over decades. They should have no place in a civilised, caring society.

Yet the continued to be prescribed by doctors. The conventional medical establishment must know about the harm they cause - and yet they have done little to protect patients.

I will not repeat what I have already written about 'Benzos', but everyone should know about them, and no-one should agree to take them. There are, after all, safer, and more effective ways of treating anxiety and depression.

               "Benzodiazepine drugs have been described as a 40-year plus horror story for tens of thousands of people in the UK, a scandal that has never been properly addressed. This first benzodiazepine drug, Librium, was discovered in 1955, and came to the market in the early 1960's. For many years benzodiazepines were considered to be 'wonder drugs', to the extent that prescriptions soared to 32 million in the UK in 1978. Only then were the adverse effects were recognised, initially by the patients taking them, and only slowly and very reluctantly by the conventional medical establishment.

               The scandal of these drugs broke in the 1980's, after it was accepted that thousands of patients had become horribly addicted to drugs like Librium and Valium. The victims complained of DIEs such as blackouts, epileptic seizures, memory loss, brain damage, insomnia and personality change. What is far worse is that many people who suffered these Benzodiazepine effects still do so, many years later - so clearly these were real DIE's, and not merely short term  side-effects' or 'adverse reactions' as they are often described!"

Yet doctors still prescribe the drug to millions of people throughout the world, subjecting patients to the same harm they were suffering over 40 years ago.

Benzodiazepine drugs should have been banned many years ago, but at least there are now restrictions on their prescription now. Guidance to doctors state that they must not be prescribed for longer than 4 weeks! Yet it would appear that conventional medicine, slave as it is to the pharmaceutical industry, just ignores the guidance!

  • So what use is medical science if it is capable of unleashing dangerous drugs on patients?
  • What use are medical guidelines, based on medical science, and produced to safeguard patients, are routinely ignored by doctors?
  • From where can patients look for unbiased advice about the safety of pharmaceutical drugs if their doctors refuse to do so?
The BNF (British National Formulary - the doctors 'bible' on drug contraindications and side effects - clearly recommends that benzodiazepine drugs should be prescribed ONLY in short courses, and certainly no longer than four weeks. The reason is the high risk of dependency, the adverse neurological and cognitive side effects, and the severe dependency and withdrawal symptoms they are known to produce.

The new research shows that about 100,000 benzodiazepine and Z-drug users in Britain were taking the drugs for at least 12 times longer than the BNF recommends, and that many patients were taking them for over a year.

Patients on the drug found that 43% wanted support to come off the drugs, and that just over 119,000 patients in the UK may also be interested in making use of withdrawal services.

               "Many of the patients experiencing problems with prescribed medicines may have avoided the associated harms if existing prescribing guidelines had been followed.’

Many more would have avoided the consequences of Benzos if they had not been put on them in the first place! But conventional medicine has little safe to offer patients, whether for anxiety or anything else, so doctors continue to justify the prescription of Benzodiazepine drugs. In a Pulse article about the study,  Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard is quoted as saying: 

               "Benzodiazepines and other psychotropic drugs can be very effective when they are prescribed appropriately and in accordance with clinical guidelines; something that GPs are highly trained to do, taking into account the unique physical, psychological and social factors potentially affecting the health of the patient in front of us, and in conversation with them."

Yes, Professor Stokes-Lampard, doctors may be trained to safeguard patients from dangerous drugs and vaccines - but they are clearly not doing so!

Instead, the conventional medical establishment continues to look for reasons to prescribe dangerous drugs like Benzodiazepines. Just a few days earlier the Pulse magazine published an article stating that a study had found there was "no increased risk of death with benzodiazepine use". I have not bothered to research who funded this research, but pharmaceutical money is probably not far away! But what does this type of research tell patients?
  • That Benzodiazepine drugs may cause sleep disturbances and rebound insomnia, restlessness, irritability, elevated anxiety (yes really, an anxiety drug causes increased anxiety), weakness, blurred vision, panic attacks, tremors, sweating/flushing, nausea/vomiting, seizures, psychosis, hallucinations, dependence and withdrawal symptoms.
  • But never mind all this, be satisfied , at least the drug does not kill you!

Friday, 14 July 2017

Depression. Why 'Talking' Therapies are better than Pharmaceutical Drugs.

These people all knew why talking therapies are better than pharmaceutical drugs in the treatment of depression. They have described so much more succinctly the power of the mind over our mental health than ever I could!

“There is no true healing unless there is a change in outlook and peace of  mind.”
Edward Bach.

“No matter how good things get, my capacity to make myself unhappy is always equal to it!”
Hugh Prather

“The best way to stay depressed is to keep thinking of all the reasons why you’re depressed.”
RD Laing

“If you are still hurt by something that happened when you were twelve, it is the thought that’s hurting you now.”
James Hillman.

The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude.”
William James. The Principles of Psychology.

“Thought is not reality, but it is through thought that our realities are created.”
Sydney Banks.

The reason for depression is to do with what is in our mind, not the chemicals in our brain. 

And if treatment is needed, Homeopathy is so much safer and more effective than conventional medicine because it seeks to support our minds, not mess with our brains.

Many thanks to Ian Watson for providing me with these quotations, during a marvellous lecture entitled "Insight. The Key to Healing", given at the Alliance of Registered Homeopaths' Annual Conference in May 2015.

The Contaminated Blood Scandal. The worst cover-up in NHS history?

The UK government has announced an inquiry into the contaminated blood scandal of the 1970's and 1980's. This gap represents the usual 30 year plus gap between a scandal, an Establishment cover-up, and a proper inquiry into what happened. This time-lapse is, for example, similar to the recent Hillsborough disaster, amongst many other scandals that usually results in a time span sufficient to ensure that people or organisations responsible for the scandal no longer have to face the consequences of what they have done, or they have lost their power and influence to prevent a full investigation.

It is now admitted that the contaminated blood scandal involved around 7,500 patients, and caused the death of at least 2,400 people. The prime minister, Theresa May, has spoken about the "appalling injustice" that happened when thousands of NHS patients were given blood products infected with hepatitis C and HIV. Indeed, many have called the scandal 'the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS'. Patients were not told about the potential risks, and May has said, after all this time (over 40 years in this case), that patients deserve answers about how it happened, and why.

  • So is the contaminated blood issue a scandal? Yes, a serious one.
  • Has there been a cover-up by the NHS? Almost certainly!
  • Is it an important inquiry which can lead to belated justice for all those people who have suffered? Hopefully so.

Yet is this really the worst NHS scandal ever? Are there more serious, ongoing scandals associated with the NHS arising from their almost total reliance on dangerous pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines known and proven to be dangerous to our health? My 'DIE's (the 'Disease-Inducing-Effects' of Pharmaceutical Drugs and Vaccines) website picks out the drugs and vaccines that are known to cause serious illness and disease.

Each page demonstrates that there have been many more NHS scandals, affecting many more people, who have taken a vast number of dangerous drugs and vaccines, and as a direct result contracted these diseases.

So the NHS, and the conventional medical establishment generally, have been, and continues to be implicated in cover-ups involving most of the pharmaceutical drugs they have been giving to patients during the last 70 years. They have done so despite the overwhelming evidence pointing to a direct connection between pharmaceutical drugs and serious illness. They have rarely been subject to serious enquiry. Indeed, most drugs and vaccines have still not been recognised as a serious threat to our health.

Despite these exceptions, it is more usual for drugs and vaccines to cause disease, only for the evidence to be denied by the medical establishment, ignored by the mainstream media, or countered with bland reassurances from doctors that the 'benefits' of the drug outweigh the 'risks'.

The result is that we are now experiencing chronic illnesses and diseases at epidemic levels - diseases like ADHDAllergyDementiaArthritisAsthmaAutism, a whole host of Auto-immune diseasesCancerChronic Fatigue (ME)DiabetesHeart diseaseKidney diseaseLiver diseaseOsteoporosis, and many others. Add to this the rise of several killer Superbugs, and a variety of mental health diseases, like depression and anxiety, our society is probably sicker now than it has ever been.

All these disease are known to be caused, and/or exacerbated by pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines. Each link, to each of the diseases listed above, gives details of the drugs and vaccines known to be associated with them.

  • So how many children have been damaged by vaccines? 7,500. How many children have died as the result of vaccination? 2,400? Undoubtedly the figures are far higher than this.
  • How many women have suffered breast or cervical cancer as a direct result of HRT treatment? More that 7,500? How many have died? More than 2,400?
  • How many people currently taking Statin drugs have contracted the many serious illnesses and diseases associated with them, or will do so in the future?
  • How many older people now suffer dementia because they have taken a combination of drugs and vaccines that are known to cause dementia. More than 7,500? How many have died as a result of drug-induced Alzheimer's disease? More than 2,400? Without any doubt.

It is often said that there are simple ways of keeping healthy, and avoiding illness. A good, well-balanced diet is one. Exercise is another. Without doubt, avoiding pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines, at all cost, has become another - as well as finding a safer, more effective medical therapy for when we do become ill.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Low Morale in the NHS - is this the real reason?

Evidence of low morale within the National Health Service is plain to see. Indeed it has been evident for many years, and it is undoubtedly increasing. The reasons given for this low morale are usually as follows:

  1. Lack of investment in the NHS.
  2. Staff salaries have been subject to pay freezes for the past decade.
  3. High and ever-increasing demand for medical services owing to an ageing population.
Yet each of these reasons, as the real cause of staff demoralization, needs to be seriously questioned if a solution is to be found. 
  • The New Labour government, between 1997 and 2010 increased spending on the NHS massively, by three-fold, from about £40 billion to about £110 billion. Since then the NHS has been 'protected' from the spending cuts imposed by Tory-led governments on other departments. The NHS is not underfunded.
  • Staff salaries have been frozen to 1% annually, but salaries in other parts of the public sector have been similarly frozen, and generally within the private sector wages have been stagnant. And doctor's are amongst the highest paid public employees, and nurses, although not brilliantly paid, once argued that their profession was more about vocation than remuneration.
  • The demand for health services have increased rapidly, as they have increased ever since the NHS was established in 1948. In recent years increased demand has been demonstrated in two sectors in particular, GP surgeries and hospital accident and emergency (A&E) departments. But it also apparent in lengthening waiting times for treatment and operations, and the many treatment 'targets' that are now being missed. Blame for this increased demand is routinely placed on 'an ageing population', but do elderly people really constitute the main reason for health service demands? It seems unlikely, and I have never seen statistics to prove it.
There is another reason for low morale, but it is one that is never mentioned within the conventional medical establishment, the government, the NHS, or indeed the mainstream media. And this is that the NHS medical system, based as it is on pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines, is failing. There is little confidence, even amongst the conventional medical profession, that these drugs are working, or that vaccines are preventing illness. 

The froth of conventional medical confidence may still be heard at the surface, but it is clear that the inner confidence has gone. 

And there is a growing realisation that pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines not only offer sick people ineffective treatment, but treatments that actually produce increasing levels and seriousness of sickness through their so-called 'side effects' and 'adverse reactions'. In other words, doctors are nurses are not making patients better, they are making them sicker. Is there anything more demoralising than such a realisation. 
  • Consider a football or cricket team who, hard as they tried, always lost; who were constantly beaten by teams (bacteria and viruses) that they once believed they could beat. 
  • Think of the tennis player who, however hard he/she works to return the ball (the patient) back safely over the net - only to find it return, even harder, even more difficult to return successfully.
Being a medical professional, working with treatments that, at best, ameliorates sick patients, and, at worst, exacerbates sickness (and cause death too) must be a deeply frustrating experience. Is there any wonder that morale is low, that staff are becoming increasingly demoralised, and leaving the profession, often for lower paid, lower status jobs. And what about the suggested solutions?
  • More money for the NHS will only be spent on the same old, failed treatments, and so will do nothing to improve the morale of staff.
  • Increased salaries will see staff doing the same old things, and with no greater success.
  • The population will continue to age for many years to come; but so too will the illnesses and diseases that are striking patients at younger and younger ages.
Staff morale, and the problems of funding the NHS, will only improve when money is spent on more effective medical therapies, and treatments that do not cause additional disease, and are capable of actually making patients better. It would be a win for government funding, a win for the NHS, a win for doctors and nurses, and most certainly a win for patients.

Medical Science. Does one hand know what the other is doing? Aspirin and PPI drugs - the implication for patients.

Medical science is a wonderful thing, we are told. It provides us with the evidence base that underpins conventional medicine. It tells our doctors whether a drug or vaccine is effective. It informs us when conventional medicine is unsafe for patients.

Or does it? Consider these two pieces of recent news, straight from medical science!

The first concerns aspirin, and has been covered by the mainstream media. For instance, the BBC headline, 14th June 2017, said:

               "People over 75 taking daily aspirin after a stroke or heart attack are at higher risk of major - and sometimes fatal - stomach bleeds than previously thought, research in the Lancet shows."

This seems clear enough, although you might ask why the mainstream media is carrying a 'bad news' story about pharmaceutical drugs. The reason is simple. Medical science has made it into a 'good news' story, and the media as usual has merely parroted the transformation. These are the BBC's next sentences,

               "Scientists say that, to reduce these risks, older people should also take stomach-protecting PPI pills. But they insist aspirin has important benefits - such as preventing heart attacks - that outweigh the risks. And they warn that stopping aspirin suddenly can be harmful."

So that's alright again. If one drug is dangerous, take another one at the same time! And, as usual, the benefits outweigh the risks! And don't stop taking the drug, even if it is harmful, because stopping taking the harmful drug is also harmful. Okay? Does that all make sense? In essence we are being told:
  • Pharmaceutical drugs may be harmful, but another drug will reduce the harm it causes!
  • Pharmaceutical drugs may be harmful, but the benefits still outweigh the risks!
  • It may be harmful taking pharmaceutical drugs, but it is also harmful stopping taking them!
However, there is worse! Another piece of medical science has recently led to new guidance being given to our doctors. This advice concerns PPI (proton pump) drugs, widely used by millions of people for indigestion, acid reflux, and other stomach complaints. And, of course, for people taking their daily aspirin! You may not have heard about this new advice on the mainstream media, the reason being simple, it constitutes 'bad' news, and as yet there has been no attempt to spin it into something good! You can read it here, in the doctors e-magazine, Pulse (4th July 2017), in an article entitled "GPs should ‘limit use and duration’ of PPIs". This is what it says,

               "Prescribers should be more vigilant about only prescribing PPIs when necessary as they are associated with increased risk of death, according to a new study. The observational study found that there was a heightened risk of death in patients taking PPIs compared to patients taking other drugs that reduce the amount of stomach acid produced, such as H2 blockers, leading researchers to suggest that doctors should be more selective about who they prescribe the drugs to."

So, thanks to medical science, the picture now seems much clearer (sic), and it goes something like this. 
  • Patients are asked by their doctors to take aspirin in order to avoid a stroke or heart attack.
  • Unfortunately, aspirin may cause fatal heart bleeds.
  • So to protect again these fatal heart bleeds, we are told to keep taking the aspirin, but in addition to take PPI drugs too!
  • However, PPI drugs also heightens the risk of death!
So what will our doctors do? Are they conflicted? Are they confused? Well, they have certainly been warned by medical science!

               "The findings in our study highlight a potential excess risk of death among users of PPI, and in particular among cohort participants without gastrointestinal comorbidities, and that risk is increased with prolonged duration of PPI exposure."

Yet once again a 'scientific' study that has linked a pharmaceutical drug to patient harm comes with a warning that the patient should not stop taking the harmful drug. 

               "Although our results should not deter prescription and use of PPI where medically indicated, they may be used to encourage and promote pharmacovigilance and emphasise the need to exercise judicious use of PPI and limit use and duration of therapy to instances where there is a clear medical indication and where benefit outweighs potential risk."

So now, older people over 75 years of age are taking two drugs, both of them dangerous, all in order to prevent them having a stroke or heart attack. So perhaps there is a third drug available, to counteract the dangers caused by PPI drugs? Watch this space! I will tell you about it as soon as I hear!

Yet surely it is good that our doctors now know that there is an inconsistency here. The Pulse article points out the inconsistencies of what are doctors are being asked to do,

               "The findings come as research published in June suggested that GPs should be co-prescribing PPIs in patients taking daily aspirin to reduce the risk of gastrointestinal bleeds in the elderly."

Pulse does not suggest a solution, and the GP comments at the foot of the Pulse article indicates that they are as conflicted and confused about the situation as medical science. "So many confounders here", says one. Another is more dismissive, "people who drink fluids and eat solids have a risk of death". Another goes further, "everything has a risk. Let us not eat, breath or walk, one might get cancer, from food and PM2.5 particles, or one might slip and fall". One might, indeed! But eating, drinking and breathing is not a voluntary action, like taking a dangerous drug! Another doctor appears more phlegmatic, "I would have thought this would be good news? Cut polypharmcy, cut expense, cut workload, cut risk.... why are we moaning?" And yet another doctor believes that if patients had to pay for their drugs the situation would be different. 

              "Any Drug prescribed will be taken only when necessary ONLY WHEN PATIENTS PAY FOR IT. When everybody is charged for medications, patient will ask doctors DO I REALLY HAVE TO TAKE IT? IS IT A MUST? At current rate of 89 % public not paying for medications, no matter of how much we telling people will work."

So even doctors are telling us we should not be taking the drugs! But doctors continue to prescribe them. Perhaps it might help if the mainstream media, and the conventional medical establishment, including our doctors, began to tell patients about the real harm done by the drugs and vaccines, we would all be better able to make an informed choice!

Sunday, 2 July 2017

BBC News and Fake Health News

I have been asked why I often comment on BBC's reporting of health news. Is it really any worse than the reporting of other news agencies? The answer is 'No' - it is no worse. But the BBC is a public service broadcaster. It is paid by licence fee payers, ordinary citizens, and it is NOT funded by Big Business, and Big Pharma in particular.

Most other news agencies ARE dependent on the largesse of big advertisers. So advertising pharmaceutical drugs is important to their survival, and drug companies can threaten their viability if they refuse to spend their money on 'critical' advertising outlets. This does not make these uncritical news agencies any better than BBC News, but it does provide a reason for their support and promotion of dangerous drugs and vaccines, and their lack of interest in patient safety.

BBC News has no such excuse. They take every opportunity to promote Big Pharma drugs and vaccines, usually without any mention of the dangers. And they regularly attack homeopathy and other safer and more effective alternative therapies quite gratuitously. As a licence payer myself, and as someone who would suffer from the drugs and vaccines they tirelessly promote if I were to believe what they tell me, I object to the 'fake news' they regularly promote.

These are the blogs I have written over the last fews years about BBC News coverage of health issues, these being the main ones. Do have a read by clicking on each one!

April 2012. Diabetes and Statin drugs.

May 2012. BBC News whitewashes Statin Drugs

July 2012. BBC News. A sudden conversion to honesty?

November 2012. BBC News supports drug taking (Ritalin) to enhance work performance!

January 2013. Breast Cancer and Tamoxifen. BBC meekly announces 'great news'.

August 2014. Aspirin and the Media (BBC News)

September 2015. Autism, the MMR Vaccine, and Media Censorship.

December 2015. The refusal of BBC News to report important health information

April 2017. BBC News. Advertising another dangerous drug for the pharmaceutical industry.

April 2017. BBC News. A statement on Vaccine Policy.

June 2017. Statin drugs going out of favour?  (BBC News promoting a new vaccine).

As more people are discovering the dangers of pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines, often by tragic  personal experience, as more patients are turning to safer medical therapies, as conventional medicine gradually dies, and bankrupt nations, through its inability to deal with epidemic levels of chronic disease (if not actually creating them in the first place!) the craven attitude of BBC News needs to be highlighted. The craven and unquestioning attitude of the BBC to pharmaceutical drugs, it's total failure to investigate and question the serious health issues that have confronted us throughout this time, needs to be a matter of record.

BBC News, and the mainstream media generally, have a lot of questions to answer, questions that will become increasingly important to people as the real harm caused by pharmaceutical drugs become obvious, and conventional medicine become completely indefensible?

  • how many people have taken pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines because they have not been aware of the dangers?
  • how many people have taken conventional medication for illness for years in the belief that it would make them better - because no-one has ever questioned this assumption?
  • how many people have suffered the side effects, adverse reactions, and really the illness and disease, that are being caused by pharmaceutical medicine?
  • how many of these people can rightly accuse the mainstream media that they are seriously ill, or that their friends and relatives have died, because the media has failed to question or investigate the dishonest and fraudulent practices of the pharmaceutical industry?

So I will continue through this blog to castigate BBC News (and the rest of the mainstream media) as a promoter of 'fake' health news. Hopefully, in time, many more people will want to know why their 'public service broadcaster' has failed, if not actually refused, to tell them the truth.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Patients who should not be prescribed drugs are given them anyway!

All pharmaceutical drugs have side effects. The conventional medical establishment recognises this. Many drugs should not be given to patients with certain medical conditions. In medical jargon these are called 'contraindications'. 

Yet a new study, published in the British Journal for General Practice, suggests that 40,000 patients with an irregular heartbeat are being treated with anti-coagulant drugs even though they are known to be at risk of serious adverse effects.

Doctors prescribe anticoagulants, such as warfarin and pradaxa, to patients with an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) to reduce the risk of stroke. Yet it is known that anticoagulants increase the risk of bleeding, so doctors are advised not to prescribe them for who are at risk, for instance, if they have an ulcer, or are pregnant, or have previously had a stroke due to bleeding.

The study, undertaken by the University of Birmingham, investigated whether these contraindications had an effect on anticoagulant prescribing in the UK. In other words, were doctors following the guidelines, and protecting their patients from drug harm? As Pulse, the GP e-magazine summarised,

               "The researchers found that patients with atrial fibrillation and contraindications to anticoagulants were just as likely to be prescribed the drugs as those without any risk factors."

The author of the study, Professor Tom Marshall is reported as saying that the situation had not changed over the 11 year period under investigation:

               "Safety advice seems not to influence prescribing of anticoagulants. Patients considered a safety risk were just as likely to be prescribed the drugs. It was the same in every year from 2004 to 2015."

Marshall added that doctors should be more aware of the risks, and understand "whether patients might come to any harm"! NICE (the National Institute for Clinical Excellence) is absolutely precise in its guidelines, stating that "anticoagulants should only be used in the absence of contraindications". So the guidance is ignored by our doctors, and thereby patients are placed in harm.

Is this a problem? The study says that more research is needed to understand why GPs prescribe anticoagulants to at-risk patients! And whether some patients with contraindications might still benefit from anticoagulant treatment! Pulse itself goes on to mention another study that suggested one-third of stroke and mini-stroke patients "could be missing out on preventive drugs".

It would appear that whilst the conventional medical establishment knows it is using dangerous drugs, when they discover they are being used inappropriately they seek to justify the misuse rather than preventing it. They play with patients' lives! NHS Choices appears to confirm this when it states:

               "Warfarin is an anticoagulant, which means it stops the blood clotting. There's an increased risk of bleeding in people who take warfarin, but this small risk is usually outweighed by the benefits of preventing a stroke." My emphasis.

So what chance do patients have? Doctors certainly seem to be ignoring the overwhelming evidence that anticoagulant drugs are not only dangerous but lethal. I wrote about this in June 2014 in my blog "Atrial Fibrillation. The dangers of blood-thinning drugs" saying this about Pradaxa (a newer drug developed as a safer alternative to Warfarin).

               "Most of the complaints about Pradaxa were that the drug company failed to warn patients about the risk of internal bleeding. Yet did the FDA do anything about these complaints. Of course not! One piece of research indicates that Pradaxa can be blamed for a total of 1,158 deaths, and 12,494 serious injuries - just in the USA!"

This is a dangerous world for any patients who submit themselves to conventional medical treatment, with the medical establishment justifying the use of dangerous and lethal drugs, with pharmaceutical companies prepared to sell drugs and vaccines, quite regardless of the harm they cause, with drug regulators failing to take effective action to protect patients, and with doctors who are prepared to prescribe dangerous drugs to patients even when they have been told they should not have them!